Recent progress has been made in the fight against malaria but huge challenges still remain. People’s lives are still devastated by this fatal disease when left untreated, killing an estimated 850,000 people in the tropical world each year. The greatest proportion of deaths and suffering occurs amongst those living in countries with weak or non-existent health structures, often in remote rural areas. As a result, those affected by man-made and natural crises are the least able when it comes to tackling the disease. A vicious circle continues to spiral out of control. It is amongst these communities that The MENTOR Initiative implements its life saving activities.
How is Malaria transmitted?
The female Anopheles mosquito is the sole vector of the malaria parasite “Plasmodium”. There are four types of human malaria:Plasmodium vivax, Plasmodium malariae, Plasmodiumovale and Plasmodium falciparum, the most deadly type.
When a human is bitten by an infected mosquito, the malaria parasites invade the bloodstream and travel to the nutrient rich liver, where they mature and reproduce. If left undiagnosed and untreated malaria is fatal, more than half a million people die every year from this devastating diseases.
The typical symptoms of uncomplicated malaria include fever, fatigue, vomiting and headaches. Severe malaria can result in shock, pulmonary oedema (excess fluid in the lungs), convulsions, and comas and if left untreated, death.
Malaria is preventable . . .
Long lasting insecticidal nets (LLINs) are one of the most effective ways to prevent malaria and have a double effect as a physical and chemical barrier against infected mosquitos.
Indoor Residual Spraying (IRS) involves the application of WHO approved insecticide through spray tanks onto the indoor walls of homes, clinics, schools and other community structures. IRS is a proven and effective tool in malaria control and works by killing blood fed female mosquitoes that rest on the walls. It is effective for varying lengths of time depending on the insecticide and the housing material onto which it is sprayed.
Diagnosis and Treatment
Rapid diagnostic tests (RDTs) ensure that malaria is diagnosed quickly and effectively at a low cost, ensuring patients receive appropriate treatment. Uncomplicated malaria can be treated using Artemisinin-based combination therapies (ACTs) which combine two active ingredients to avoid drug resistance. Making these and other life-saving tools widely accessible, affordable and delivered effectively means no-one need suffer or die from malaria.